There’s no doubt that there’s a connection between mental health and sleep, especially when it comes to the quality of sleep we get. There’s plenty of advice to dole out about this, so you have to be careful not to look at the problem from the wrong point of view. For instance, if you are anxious and you can’t sleep, there are other ways to fall asleep than getting rid of your anxiety entirely. Even though people will take that route.
Instead, you can manage that anxiety through different tips and techniques to help you sleep better. Yes, limiting screen time and not having caffeine too late in the day are both very important tips, but that could honestly affect everyone. Instead, I’ve found 3 tips that have proven to be helpful to sleep well with anxiety, so I thought I’d share them!
Get your body clock right.
Sometimes it will be the middle of the night and I’ll feel wide awake. While sometimes anxiety can make me feel that way, odds are that my body clock is all out of wack and doesn’t really recognize when it’s time to power down. Ways to fix this? Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day is a good start. Regardless of whether or not you fell asleep right after you go to bed (I don’t), letting your body know that ‘now’ is the time to rest goes a long way toward establishing a habit. Another way to help regulate your body clock is eating – having meals and snacks at the same time every day. Establishing patterns means that when that pattern gets you to bedtime, your body will understand that at least it’s time to sleep.
Exercise – at the correct time
Exercise has been known to lower anxiety and improve sleep, but looking at that by itself is irresponsible because it might make people think that they can exercise any time they want and sleep better. Take it from me, that doesn’t work. Working out in the morning is probably the best way to get your sleep cycle on track but if you can’t, the afternoon is good as well. But please don’t exercise at 11 pm and then sit in your bed and wonder why you can’t sleep. There’s research to prove this, but I have the first-hand experience in doing this to tell you – you won’t be able to sleep.
Address your anxiety outside of bedtime
It’s easy for anxiety to sneak in at bedtime. There’s nowhere to go, and nothing to do other than try to fall asleep. Your mind can really go anywhere and if your anxiety is anything like mine, it will go anywhere and everywhere. This tip is more anecdotal than based on statistics, but it’s helped me in the past. When you take steps during the day to address your anxiety, it can help shoulder some of the weight that could fall on you when you go to sleep. However you deal with anxiety – exercise, therapy, medication, etc. – spreading out dealing with it takes away some of its power.
What are some other tips you’ve learned for sleeping with anxiety? Let me know in the comments!